Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Freaks of Nature - 7" EP

I've been meaning to write about this wild'n'wolly garage single since Thee Fourgiven played with these crazed cats way back in September but life keeps interfering. They blew me away with their live show and this single (with a slightly different line-up) is damn near as ferocious!

They did a great job with this 45 - the sound production is perfect for 60 garage'n'roll, with guitars galore, a frantic rhythm section and appropriately snotty'n'great vocals. Fuzz guitar dominates "Key To Your Heart"and they do a frenzied version of Thee Gentlemen's "Cryin' Shame" while still retaining it's garage swing and hip backin' vocals. They don't let up the pace even with slightly off-kilter rhythms on their own chord-driven "That's Alright" and the Grifs' "Keep Dreamin'" is another fuzz-filled piece of garage madness.

I love the fact that there are still great garage bands popping up around the world and these cats are right up there with the best! Grab this one while you can and a new 45 is due out at any time!

RIP Mike Carroll


Sad to hear of the passing of Poison 13/Lord High Fixers frontman Mike Carroll.

Greg Shaw (RIP) turned me on to Poison 13 well over 30 years ago and I immediately dug their mix of punk, blues and garage that I have listened to continuously ever since.

Later, while touring with the Tommyknockers, Laura Bennett would regale me with stories of the combined exploits of the Screamin' Sirens and Poison 13 and their off shoots.

I never knew Mike but have long been a fan. His legacy will remain.

Monday, January 15, 2018

RIP Edwin Hawkins


Edwin Hawkins, gospel star known for ‘Oh Happy Day,' dies at 74
 ---
"Oh Happy Day" was a great gospel/pop hit though I never knew much about Hawkins. Sad to hear of his passing.

Friday, January 12, 2018

the monks - let's start a beat! Live at Cavestomp 1999

The monks (officially, lower case "m") were American GI's who formed a beat band in Germany, found managers who helped them to meld their ideas into something wholly original, recorded an album, split up and were relegated to semi-obscurity until crazed garage freaks (especially Mike Stax in San Diego) discovered their madness, searched for and found the original members. This CD is a recording of their first ever show on American soil, at NY's Cavestomp in 1999. Despite some issues (most troubling was singer Gary's laryngitis), they put on a phenomenal show and played several more times in the ensuing years (including a Las Vegas show that gave me the inspiration to start playing guitar again after an eight year hiatus) before an inevitable breakup due to members passing away. Thankfully, this show was captured to prove that they did not lose any power or creativity in the several decades since their last gig!

The obvious opening of "monk time" is supremely powerful and their sound is perfect - totally monks sound, as if they were still at their height in 1966! Even via CD, this is damn near breath-taking! They blast right into "oh how to do now"and despite his illness, Gary's voice is great, his guitar is ferocious and Larry's keyboards are huge'n'noisy, while Dave (banjo), Roger (drums) and Eddie (bass) keep the primitive cave stomp going. "We Do Wie Du"and "Boys are Boys" follow before "Pretty Suzanne", which at the time was still unreleased and they stretch out the slow, hypnotic beat while Gary taunts "you're not in a hurry, are you"?! The sound is impeccable for the demented circus number "hushi pushie" and the truly psychotic "cuckoo", there is monstrous fuzz in "complication" and Gary improvises his monologue in "that's my girl" and lets out an insane guitar solo worthy of the Velvet Underground!

The group vocals, fuzz bass, crazed guitar and simple, 1-2-1-2-3, psycho beat in "shut up" is pretty damn menacing even before the group shouts out "SHUT UP!" but they lighten up in "i can't get over you" with its damn happy-sounding, nursery-rhyme-ish melody. Speaking of nursery rhymes, the maniacal "higgle-dy piggle-dy" is next, with an insane guitar solo, and then there is the tremelo'd guitar feedback takeoff that appropriately starts off the mostly-instrumental, tribal stomp number (Adam Ant must have listened to these guys!) "blast off!" before stretching out their hymn, "I Hate You", to give everyone some instrumental time - an ironic ending, as they were obviously having a blast. Not knowing any more songs, for the encore Gary calls out "let's start a beat" in the key of "G" and they wail! A fantastic, off-the-cuff finale to an amazing show!

Such an amazing combo! I wish they were still around to continue to show the uninitiated how it's done. A must for monks acolytes!

13th Floor Elevators - Easter Everywhere

This Texas band was certainly one of the trippiest groups of the 60's, especially outside of the San Francisco area. Led by the terrific voice of singer Roky Erickson, the group combined garage sounds with new psychedelic tones and effects (including their unique electric jug) to create an unforgettable, atmospheric backdrop to many acid drops. Of course, their hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me", appeared on their debut album but this follow up is at least as strong and possibly superior in some ways.

The trip begins with the somewhat droney, but immensely catchy, "Slip Inside This House" - fine melodies, terrific chorus, burbling jug and guitar lines interweaving with Roky's voice - truly powerful songwriting here. More fine and creative intermingling of guitar'n'vocal melodies in "Slide Machine", there's a beautiful and tender love song in "She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)", lead guitarist Stacey Sutherland takes lead vocals on his folk-rock-y "Nobody to Love" (with more cool guitar work and bongo-esque percussion), and side one of the vinyl ended with a slow, psychedelic version of Dylan's "Baby Blue".

Roky's "Earthquake" is a bit more garage-oriented, although still with psyche touches, he gives another lovely ballad in "Dust" (he did really have a way with melodies), and then there's the stompin' blues-rocker "Levitation" - one of their most potent tunes, easily and logically covered by punk bands in the 70's/early 80's to great effect. Love this song! Another breather with a heart-wrenchingly gorgeous serenade, "I Had to Tell You" co-written by Clementine Hall (jug player Tommy's sister or wife? She also sings on this one) before the psychedelic finale of "Pictures (Leave Your Body Behind)" - a Stones-y R'n'B number as seen through the Elevators' kaleidoscopic eyes!

Truly one of the best psych soundtrack albums ever!

The Essential Barbeque Bob

I definitely discovered Barbecue Bob via the blues calendar series and and was intrigued by his strong yet melodic voice and insistent, rhythmic 12 string guitar playing. His work in the 1920's and early '30's garnered a fair amount of popularity, although he currently is one of the more obscure early blues players. This may have to do with the fact that his guitar playing, while providing a powerful tempo behind his vocals, is not all that exceptional, overall. He does get a little fancier in numbers like "Goin' Up the Country", but still, his instrumental prowess does not really stand out.

The songs are acoustic country blues, hokum, and vaudeville-ish with more traditional blues mixed with goofs like "Diddle-Da-Diddle" (done with various other nonsensical words by plenty of others), greats like "Chocolate to the Bone" (with the line "got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home") and a version of "Sittin' on Top of the World" in "I'm on My Way Down Home" (one of several numbers with the Georgia Cotton Pickers). He even does some light-hearted smack talkin' with his brother, Charlie, ala later Bo Diddley'n'Jerome is the two-parter "It Won't Be Long Now".

On Disc 2, he performs some rudimentary slide work on the lewd "Twistin' That Stuff", he mashes up many other songs in his take on "Motherless Chile Blues" (talking about getting his "hambone boiled" and "where did you stay last night" and "goin' to the river") and does the same for a lot of the other cuts here - whether he is doing an original version or just making things up as he goes, I couldn't say, but it does all work! I dig the raw-voiced Nellie Florence on "Jacksonville Blues" and "Midnight Weeping Blues" (she causes Bob to break out in uncontrollable laughter at one point) and his work with the Georgia Cotton Pickers helps add to his sound.

Although Bob has a fine voice and brings plenty of oomph to the tunes here, his simplistic playing does make a lot of the songs sound similar, especially over the course of 2 CDs. Still, a cool collection from this original blues cat.

R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders - Singing in the Bathtub

Crumb's Serenaders perform acoustic, old-timey ragtime/jazz/vaudeville numbers from the early 20th Century (along with occasional originals), with emphasis on banjo, mandolin, and guitar, with additional assistance at times from musical saw, accordion, harmonica, horns and strings. These are fun, upbeat, often silly tunes (like the title cut), with nice instrumental work ("Chile Blues") and some showbiz/circus overtures ("Dream of Heaven"). They bemoan their lack of popularity due to being out of step with modern times in "Suits Crybaby Blues", then throw in a bit of zydeco on the accordion/fiddle original tune "Shopping Mall", some nice steel guitar and group singing on "Hula Girl", "La Gima Polka" shows off some fancy banjo-polka-pickin' and they part ways with the farewell song "Hano Hano Hawaii".

Of course, there's plenty more here and all swingin' fun, in their old-timey kinda way.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

recommended gigs

Friday Jan 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at Rebar
Friday Jan 12 - The Super Zeroes and People's Whiskey at the Double Down

Saturday Jan 13 - the Delta Bombers with Will and the Hi Rollers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Jan 13 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger
Saturday Jan 13 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Jan 13 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday Jan 14 - the Scoundrels and Super Zeroes at the Dive Bar

Monday Jan 15 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Jan 17 - Dead Country Gentlemen and Kid You're No Fighter at the Griffin

Friday Jan 19 - Water Landing with Johnny Zig and the Force at the Double Down

Monday Jan 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Jan 24 - the Psyatics, the Pine Hill Haints, Slow Motion Cowboys at the Double Down
Wednesday Jan 24 - the Rhyolite Sound with the Reeves Brothers at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Jan 27 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Huntridge Tavern
Saturday Jan 27 - the New Waves at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 1 - Rev Horton Heat, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Shanda and the Howlers at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday Feb 3 - Bogtrotter's Union album release show at McMullan's Irish Pub

Thursday Feb 8 - Go Betty Go at the Beauty Bar

Friday Feb 16 - HaHa Tonka, the Unwieldies, Paige Overton at the Beauty Bar
Friday Feb 16 - Daijaiku, the Swank Bastards, the New Waves, Dr. Phobic at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 16 - the All Togethers at the Huntridge

Saturday Feb 24 - the Implosions, Shieks of Neptune and more at the Dive Bar

Saturday Mar 17 - Franks'n'Deans, Sheiks of Neptune, Geezus Cryst and Free Beer, Left Unattended at the Double Down

Thursday April 5 - the Legendary Shack Shakers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 19 - the Terrorsaurs, Psyatics, Swank Bastards at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

RIP Fast Eddie Clarke


Former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke dies at the age of 67 after battle with pneumonia
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Once again, way too young.
This band revolutionized heavy metal, punk and everything in between.
Getting the band back together in heaven, I guess...

Friday, January 05, 2018

24 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920's Vol 15

I have been collecting Blues Images calendars with the free CD for a number of years now and am never disappointed by either! The calendar offers ultra-cool images from ads for blues releases from the time and the CD always has high quality artists, usually with some newly discovered, previously unreleased (since the initial record, of course) tunes. This 24 song CD includes greats like Memphis Minnie, Tampa Red, Blind Willie Johnson, Charley Patton, Blind Blake, Tommy Johnson, the Memphis Jug Band and a plethora of others!

Of course, due to the time, this is all early, acoustic blues and, if you are a collector, you will probably own some of these songs already, but there are always some surprises (for me, anyway) and the comp always has the best possible sound and a nice selection.

Less obvious numbers include Johnnie Temple doing a fine imitation of Skip James on "The Evil Devil Blues", the Mississippi Moaner being true to his sobriquet in "It's Cold In China Blues", Rev. Steamboat Bill's Revival Singers sermonizing with "Happy as the Day is Long" and the acoustic pickin' of Hi Henry Brown on "Brown Skin Angel" and "Hospital Blues", to name a few.

Always a good way to start off your year! Collect them all!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

recommended gigs


Sunday Jan 7 - the Rhyolite Sound, Billy Don Burns and Bob Wayne at the Dive Bar
Sunday Jan 7 - Thee Swank Bastards, the Volcanics and Black Flamingos at the Golden Tiki

Monday Jan 8 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday Jan 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at Rebar

Saturday Jan 13 - the Delta Bombers with Will and the Hi Rollers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Jan 13 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger
Saturday Jan 13 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Jan 13 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden TikiDouble down

Monday Jan 15 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Jan 17 - Dead Country Gentlemen and Kid You're No Fighter at the Griffin

Friday Jan 19 - Water Landing at the Double Down

Monday Jan 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Jan 24 - the Psyatics, the Pine Hill Haints, Slow Motion Cowboys at the Double Down
Wednesday Jan 24 - the Rhyolite Sound with the Reeves Brothers at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Jan 27 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Huntridge Tavern
Saturday Jan 27 - the New Waves at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 1 - Rev Horton Heat, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Shanda and the Howlers at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Thursday Feb 8 - Go Betty Go at the Beauty Bar

Friday Feb 16 - HaHa Tonka, the Unwieldies, Paige Overton at the Beauty Bar
Friday Feb 16 - Daijaiku, the Swank Bastards, the New Waves, Dr. Phobic at the Dive Bar

Saturday Feb 24 - the Implosions, Shieks of Neptune and more at the Dive Bar

Thursday April 19 - the Terrorsaurs, Psyatics, Swank Bastards at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Ugly Things #46 Winter 2017

Any self-respecting fan of r'n'r knows that Ugly Things remains, after several decades(!),  the premier print zine for all things cool'n'groovy. In this ish you get articles on 60's legends The Equals, the Balloon Farm, Goldebriars, and more, while Greg Prevost interviews Captain Beefheart, and we learn more about later loons like Simon Stokes and Geof Crozier. Of course, there's news from the Pretty Things and Downliner Sect, along with an immense amount of reviews of books, zines and records galore! Every UT gives you numerous recommendations to fill up every wish list you have of sights'n'sounds that you desperately need.

As always, high quality from Mike and Anja Stax and their incomparable group of cohorts! Dig it!

The Tell Tale Hearts - 517 Fourth Ave (EP)

After leaving the Crawdaddies, bassist Mike Stax teamed up with Ray Brandes (vocals), Bill Calhoun (organ), Eric Bacher (guitar) and Dave Klowden (drums) to form the more garage/Pretty Things-oriented Tell Tale Hearts - combining their love for early 60's, white boy R'n'B with fuzz-filled, mid-60's garage r'n'r. These San Diego-ites filled dance floors all over the west coast with well-dressed, long-haired 60's fanatics, groovin' to their frantic sounds. This EP is the debut release of their first, 1984 recordings, done live in Studio 517. The sound is rough'n'raw, a bit muddy, but with plenty of power'n'energy, as the group had in their raucous shows.

Their fuzz-filled take on the Topsy Turby's "Hey Tiger" is even more smokin'n'powerful than the original, whereas they tone done the Wig's "Crackin' Up" a tad (just a tad) to swing a bit more and not be as recklessly anarchic as the original, although no less energetic. They're pretty respectful to the Malibu's "Cry" - although Klowden's drumming is mighty intense - and the original "(You're A) Dirty Liar" is a Them-influenced piece of wildness with a hip middle breakdown (dig the guitar/bass trade-off!) that breaks back into a crazed, rave-up ending!

The Hearts were one of the originals and were among the top of the heap in the 80's garage scene. Terrific stuff! I believe that this is a limited edition so grab it while you can! (Line notes by Greg Prevost, too!)